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[473a] “Is it possible for anything to be realized in deed as it is spoken in word, or is it the nature of things that action should partake of exact truth less than speech, even if some deny it1? Do you admit it or not?” “I do,” he said. “Then don't insist,” said I, “that I must exhibit as realized in action precisely what we expounded in words. But if we can discover how a state might be constituted most nearly answering to our description, you must say that we have discovered that possibility of realization which you demanded.

1 Plato is contradicting the Greek commonplace which contrasts the word with the deed. Cf. Apology 32 A, Sophist 234 E, Euripides frag.Alcmeneλόγος γὰρ τοὔργον οὐ νικᾷ ποτε, and perhaps Democritus's λόγος ἔργου σκιή. Cf. A.J.P. xiii. p. 64. The word is the expression of the thought. It is more plastic (588 D, Laws 736 B) and, as Goethe says, “von einem Wort lässt sich kein Iota rauben.”

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